Ariane 6 deadline “impossible”
May 15, 2023
By Chris Forrester
The European Space Agency (ESA) has issued an update to its timetable for the debut launch of its new Ariane 6 launch vehicle. The update came from a Ariane 6 Launcher Task Force set up with ESA’s top management, the launch base prime contractor (CNES), the rocket’s builder ArianeGroup, and service provider Arianespace.
But the news is not good, with one influential observer saying the new timetable is “impossible”, and means that a 2023 launch is now very unlikely.
The statement from ESA says that while tests of various components will take place throughout this summer, the actual Launch vehicle assembly – i.e., the rocket – will not commence before November 2023. The statement read: “Launch vehicle assembly and beginning of the inaugural flight launch campaign – Following sea transportation of lower and upper stages from France and Germany to French Guiana, this process will include in a full-fledged flight configuration a final dress rehearsal.”
The Task Force have not given any information as to a likely launch date for the test flights. One contractor involved in the project (OHB) has publicly said that the Ariane 6 launch would not happen until the early part of 2024.
The Task Force says that they will issue their next update on June 8th.